How to Survive in the Wild: Be a Good Mimic

Just ask the dancing spider, the jawfish, and the octopus

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 5, 2012 5:03 PM CST

(Newser) – If you're a fan of animal mimicry stories, today's just like your birthday:

  • Spider dance: Biologists have discovered that a male wolf spider who sees another male doing a little spider dance to attract a mate will not only mimic the moves but try to improve upon them and outdance his rival, reports Wired. See the gallery for video of one spider watching another and getting his groove on with some serious leg-tapping.

  • Copying the copier: The spider item is tough to beat, but National Geographic might just do it. A researcher noticed that a jawfish, normally reclusive, was swimming in the open ocean in camouflage of sorts: It blended in with the colors and movements of a roving octopus. The kicker is that octopus being mimicked was itself a "mimic octopus," expert at taking the form of other sea creatures. "We've never seen anything like that before," says another researcher who watched the video. (It's also in the gallery.)

Spot the jawfish? It's a little hard to see, but he's on the left, about midway up, blending in with the octopus colors.
Spot the jawfish? It's a little hard to see, but he's on the left, about midway up, blending in with the octopus colors.   (YouTube)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
This video depicts a male Schizocosa ocreata wolf spider "eavesdropping" on the courtship behavior of another male spider on the video screen.   (YouTube)
The little jawfish blends in with its octopus buddy.   (YouTube)

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